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Blue Flag Beaches

https://www.blueflag.global/

Blue Flag is an international annual award for beaches,  boats and marinas that is recognized as the trusted symbol of quality. In South Africa, Blue Flag has been operational since 2001 and has proud municipal, marina and tourism boat partners in 18 coastal municipalities around the country, In South Africa the programme is implemented by the Wildlife Environmental Society of South Africa (WESSA) George Municipality is also participating in this coastal management programme.

Blue flag criteria means that your beach has been accredited to meet standards of excellence in:

  1. Water quality that is measured in two microbial indicators to test the faecal contamination in Blue Flag bathing waters,
  2. Environmental management which includes cleanliness of the beach, ablution facilities, accessibility to disabled persons, and no contamination in bathing water,
  3. Environmental education, that entails environmental awareness programmes  which can be conducted in different target groups, ranging from school children to adults,  and can be anything pertaining coastal care and environmental management , and
  4. Safety and services , meaning that we have life guards on duty with suitable equipment , emergency response, suitable parking space and controlled traffic, prohibited use of alcohol to ensure safety for all our  beachgoers.


For the 2023/24 season from 1 December – 31 January, Wilderness Beach ,Herold’s Bay Beach and Victoria Bay were  awarded full Blue flag status. Leentjiesklip Beach wasma pilot blue flag beach. George Municipality manages all of its beaches with the same standards to ensure a great  beach experience for all its beachgoers.

Blue Flag is voluntary, which shows a very strong commitment to environmental sustainability. Blue Flag also campaigns against disparity, inequality, unemployment, health threats, depletion of natural resources, environmental threats, pollution and general environmental degradation, improved tourism facilities. Blue Flag means you have the green key eco label which is an international symbol of sustainability, which recognises tourism establishments that are actively working to reduce their environmental footprint through environmentally responsible operations.

REGULATIONS FOR BLUE FLAG BEACHES

  • No dogs on the beach is one of the regulations that we put emphasis on as this can have an impact on the Blue Flag status. Dogs can contaminate the bathing water as some dog walkers do not pick up and clean after their dogs.
  • Wilderness main beach has dog friendly zones and these are highlighted in the SANParks map.
  • Walking of dogs where its prohibited can result in a fine issued to the offender.
  • Alcohol is also strictly prohibited in our beaches to ensure the safety of all our beach goers .

ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS EDUCATION
A number of Coastal Care boards are installed at the beaches where one can find valuable information about the environment. SANParks also has an interpretative centre which contains valuable environmental education. Environmental education activities will be rolled out at schools and communities during the Blue Flag Season.

Blue Flag is an international coastal management programme that accredits beaches that meet standards of excellence in water quality, environmental management, environmental education and information as well as safety and services. In South Africa the programme is implemented by the Wildlife Environmental Society of South Africa (WESSA).

Blue Flag status offers many benefits including improved tourism facilities, enhanced management of coastal ecosystems, increased awareness of the coast and capacity building of coastal municipalities. Blue Flag status has significant international merit and the achievement of such accolades is important to stimulate and confirm international and high-end interest in the city and district as a desirable, quality tourism and lifestyle destination. We thank SANParks Garden Route National Park who shares jurisdiction of Wilderness beach with the George Municipality.

The Blue Flag season runs from 1 December – 31 January annually and application must be made for each season. Compliance includes high standards of water quality monitoring, public safety and lifeguard services, and well-maintained coastal amenities.

The Green Coast Programme is an annual award programme that recognises and awards municipalities that demonstrate inclusive and sustainable coastal management at less developed coastal sites with high biodiversity value. Municipalities achieve Green Coast status for coastal sites by meeting a set of criteria that are designed to ensure environmental, developmental, and participatory standards are continually maintained and improved at the site.

Green Coast sites appeal to a specific sector of the tourism market who are looking for experiences in adventure, outdoor living and nature-based tourism along South Africa’s incredibly diverse coastline. The Green Coast award assists these sites by putting them on the tourism map and promoting them all under one tourism standard. The Green Coast status at coastal sites is an economic driver for coastal communities, local businesses, and tourism (in particular eco-tourism).

In short, Green Coast is a platform for collaboration, innovation, and local public participation in integrated coastal management and has been awarded to Gwaiing River Mouth Beach.